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Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures
August 11th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN

People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study.

After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people actually tend to become more religious - by some definitions, at least - as they further their education.

“It all falls down to what you consider to be religious,” said Schwadel, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “If it’s simply attending religious services, then no. Highly educated people are not less religious; in fact, they’re more religious.”

“But if it’s saying the Bible is the literal word of God and saying that only one religion is the true religion, then they are less religious,” he continued.

Schwadel used data from the highly regarded General Social Survey, a cumulative and nationally representative survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago biannually since 1972.

Social scientists rely heavily on the “gold standard” General Social Survey, which provides cumulative data collected regularly between 1972 and 2010.

His study will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Review of Religious Research.

Schwadel found that with each additional year of education:

- The likelihood of attending religious services increased 15%.

- The likelihood of reading the Bible at least occasionally increased by 9%.

- The likelihood of switching to a mainline Protestant denomination - Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian USA or United Methodist - increased by 13%.

Respondents to the General Social Survey were asked whether they believe in God without any doubts; with various levels of doubt; whether they have a different concept of God or a higher power; or whether they didn’t believe in any such thing, Schwadel said.

“With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’”

The findings makes sense to D. Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts and author of “Faith in the Halls of Power,” about the growing evangelical Christian elite.

“The more educated a person is in their faith, the more cosmopolitan they are in their religious outlook,” he said. “They’re worldly in the very best sense of the term. They rub shoulders with people of different kinds of faiths every day and as a result they have different visions of what it means to express your faith in the public square.”

“They’re more open-minded, but here’s the thing: They’re no less faithful.”

But a leading voice for atheists says the study’s finding about education increasing certain measures of religiosity may be less straightforward than it appears.

“There are plenty of people who go to church who are not believers,” said Ed Buckner, former president of the group American Atheists. “They go for all sorts of reasons. I don’t mean that they’re all frauds and deceptive, (but) they go for social reasons or (because) that’s what’s expected of them by their families or their peers. Sometimes they go so they can sell more insurance.”

“But there are a lot of atheists in the pews, or at least people who are not committed to and probably haven’t even thought about and examined carefully the religious views that are being expressed in that church.”

The finding that highly educated people gravitated toward mainline Christian denominations suggested class dynamics at work, Buckner argued.

As people become more educated, he said, they move into the middle and upper middle class. “And as they do so,” he said, ”they move into more establishment situations regarding the society, which means they join the churches that are the churches of the elite, or at least of the middle class.”

But Schwadel said respondents were discussing their actual beliefs, not just churchgoing habits.

“What it all says to me is that religion matters to people of all education levels in the United States,” he said. “It’s just that, depending on your level of education, you behave and believe differently.”

So why the widespread perception that intellectuals are less religious, even largely irreligious?

Academics are at least moderately less religious than the general public, Schwadel said.

“When we see these trends, we tend to exaggerate them,” he said. “Most people see a trend and they think everyone’s like that.”

Lindsay thinks there’s more to it than that.

“There has been a concentrated effort by a cohort of very smart people who treat religion as the panacea for the simple-minded,” he said.

Bucker disputes that.

“Do we think that anybody who doesn’t agree with us is an idiot or a fool? Well, some of us do think that,” he said of atheists. “But I don’t think it’s systematically true of everybody in the movement.

“… I mean, I do think they’re wrong. Anybody who believes that there is a sky god out there who is going to do anything good or evil for us, basically anyone who thinks the universe cares about us, is making a mistake,” he continued. “In the words of Richard Dawkins, they’ve been deluded.”

But some people’s religious beliefs are “deeply held and carefully considered,” Buckner said. “And I also realize that some atheists’ lack of religious beliefs are pretty superficial and they haven’t thought things through.

“I have a lot more respect for a religious person who has really considered this, thought it through, read some books that disagree with their point of view and still accepts that position than I do for somebody who just unthinkingly rejects any particular point of view.”

Lindsay said the study could help break down some of society’s religious barriers.

“It’s a problem of perceptions because it fuels the idea that there’s some kind of deeply entrenched culture war where smart people are opposed to religious people, when in fact it’s far more complicated than that,” he said. “And in fact, the old divisions between deeply religious and irreligious probably don’t apply.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Education • Polls

soundoff (1,651 Responses)
  1. deathwombat

    I know that there were some very educated people at my church, including at least one Master's degree, and the minister had a PhD. Educated people tend to come from wealthier families, and tend to earn more money. People who have money are more likely to feel that God has blessed them. People who are struggling financially have less reason to believe that a loving God is looking after them.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Rainman

      I have to disagree. People that have hit rock bottom and the poor are more likely to turn to god. Most of the rich have a different god that they worship.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Atheist

      But what did these people get their degrees in?
      As I stated earlier (maybe the first comment page so a while ago) I wouldn't be surprised if someone who got a literature major or something in the arts kept their religion or even had it streangthened as opposed to someone who got their degree in physics or math or one of the sciences.
      I would think a science/math-based degree would lead to more atheist/agnostics than one in the arts.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Jeff

      At least one Masters degree?! And your minister has a PhD.?! Wow, that is a godd**n think-tank there.

      I'm joking, btw. Masters degrees are a dime a dozen these days, and really only indicative of high-wealth but an intellect that isn't sharp enough to permit acceptance into a doctoral program. And your minister having a PhD. isn't the slightest bit surprising, or indicative of what most of us would consider superior education. PhD.'s from baptist diploma-mill seminaries are all over the place among new ministers right now. If you think those people are engaging in the sort of rigorous thought, analysis and writing that goes on in a respected University PhD. program, then I've got some magic beans to sell you.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Eisenhower

      A Masters and PhD in religion, I'll bet. Doesn't count!

      August 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  2. GoldenGate

    “Do we think that anybody who doesn’t agree with us is an idiot or a fool? Well, some of us do think that,” he said of atheists.

    Uhh, virtually all of the atheists who post on CNN.com think that. You can smell the self-satisfied pomposity through the monitor.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jared

      I think we all recognize though that posters on CNN.com are not a good representation of the whole group.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • heynow

      A small cross section of people being Wrong On The Internet can represent whole groups? We are so screwed.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  3. Barking Alien

    I don't agree with their findings. Typically people I meet who have advanced degrees are either agnotistic or atheist.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • MikeC

      @TexasCentrist
      My beliefs are still my beliefs. But Atheists try to use rationality to justify their beliefs. Just like you calling it irrational. My belief is simply the fact that we dont know. I believe in a God because how complicated everything is. And I had a moment which Christians call being touched.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  4. MikeC

    So if there is no God then what really is the harm to believe and practice respect for others vs There is a God and you are doomed. If the educated were so smart you would think that they wouldnt take a calculated risk like that. The world is so complicated yet we are so vain to think we actually are smart enough to figure this question.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Atheist

      I'd believe in god if I could, but haveing a god run the universe just doesn't make sense to me. Math and science make sense and they are quickly getting to the point where they can understand the entire universe without the use of a god.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • TexasCentrist

      Don't you see how irrational that is? If there were an omnicient god, don't you think he would see right through you, that you were simply hedging your bets? C'mon. That's really a dumb reason to be religious, if you'd call it that.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @MikeC

      First, it's the 'actions' that you 'believers' take in relationship to your faith based on your holy book that infringes on the civil liberties of us. So, as long as you keep your religion to yourself, and not try to bring your 'religion' into our schools, courts and politics, no problem in your believing what the hell you want.

      Second, please look up..."Pascal's Wager."

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • GoldenGate

      MikeC – here is another reason to attend service even if you don't have a strong belief in God. You are challenged to be a better person. I believe that there ARE right ways and wrong ways to behave toward others and REAL religious content covers that. I think a lot of people assume they will hear a 20 minute anti-gay sermon every week, but that is just not the case in any church I have been to. My pastor spent several sermons in a row talking about what the Bible says about relationships. Its not all the crazy stuff you see on TV.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Another Atheist

      I understand your point, but it's important to realize that atheism is more of a realization than a calculated choice. People just don't wake up one day and decide to be atheist. Your average atheist has come to many profound conclusions about the our world and the universe, be it through studying astrophysics, subatomic chemistry, religious history, human psychology, etc. It's not an emotional rejection of deities, but rather a clear understanding of what their historical purpose was, why they were invented, why people needed to believe in them, and why they are no longer necessary with today's knowledge. To quote Dawkins, "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

      August 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • GoldenGate

      Peace2All – you are confusing religion with its use by the right in the "culture wars." Judeo-Christian ethics are the basis for the laws in the US. Without some kind of view of what is right and wrong, I am not sure how you could have ANY laws.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jeff

      What's the problem? How about the money wasted and pointless bloodshed, for starters? How about the psychological damage to people who don't fit the "godly" mold? How about the bulldozing of diverse cultures to replace them with anglo-christian uniformity?

      Do you really need me to go on?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @GoldenGate

      Hey -Golden...

      You Said: " Peace2All – you are confusing religion with its use by the right in the "culture wars."

      No... not confused. Quite 'clear' actually.

      You Said: " Judeo-Christian ethics are the basis for the laws in the US. Without some kind of view of what is right and wrong, I am not sure how you could have ANY laws."

      You see this is the part I don't get with the believers. When did you guys begin to think that you have the 'trademark' on 'ethics and morality'...?

      I mean really, -Golden... "Your not sure how we could have ANY laws."...? So, you think that 'not killing someone, not stealing, etc... just popped up because of the OT and Jesus...?

      Without the Bible and all it entails, societies developed and existed long before, and as a natural process of what 'worked' and what didn't these things became self-evident.

      There was and is no need to fear eternal punishment from a deity to be and do 'good.'

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Golden Gate

      You Said: " Here's another good reason to attend Church services, You are challenged to be a better person. "

      Does one really 'need' to go to Church services to 'be challenged' to be a better person...?

      I suppose some do need that crutch.

      However, there are many other ways of challenging oneself to be a "better person."

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • MikeC

      Hate to break it to you but we havent even touched the surface of what is out there. Math and Science is limited to what we know here on Earth. It can explain many things but is and will never be able to prove the exsistance or non exsistance of God. Been tried and even a computer couldnt perform the calculations needed. Its left up to faith. But think of it like this. If you cant have negative without a positive and e=mc2 then positive energy has mass. What that mass is who really knows

      August 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • fred

      Peace2all,
      Goes both ways. In the 50's most places were closed on Sundays the lords day and families had a day to enjoy life with out all the materialism. Pron was only in dark sticky smelly hidden places. TV shows were booted for the smallest offense against good / decency. Prayer was in school, we had few bullies and if there were any they got pulled to the side fast, and it was an achievment to get an A.
      America changed : we threw prayer out of the public square, and school now bullies run the roost and your a geek if you get all A's. Sunday is just a day to fill our materilistic wants and desires. Pron is in your face and modern family is the role modle for America.
      Help, exactly who got in whos bedroom, workplace, school, public square ?

      August 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @MikeC

      Besides looking up "Pascal's Wager" please also include looking up..."God of the Gaps" fallacious argument, as well.

      Just because... science hasn't found all of the answers, doesn't mean you can just automatically insert a Deity or God into the equation and say..."God did it."

      And, just because science hasn't done some of these things that you claim haven't been proven, 'does not' *imply* that they won't be at some time in the future.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      fred

      Peace2all,
      Goes both ways. In the 50's most places were closed on Sundays the lords day and families had a day to enjoy life with out all the materialism. Pron was only in dark sticky smelly hidden places. TV shows were booted for the smallest offense against good / decency. Prayer was in school, we had few bullies and if there were any they got pulled to the side fast, and it was an achievment to get an A.
      America changed : we threw prayer out of the public square, and school now bullies run the roost and your a geek if you get all A's. Sunday is just a day to fill our materilistic wants and desires. Pron is in your face and modern family is the role modle for America.
      Help, exactly who got in whos bedroom, workplace, school, public square ?
      ----–
      Well theaaaarrrr you have it, prayer was removed which started the downfall of the USA. *rolling eyes*

      August 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Atheist

      I've done a lot of studying in physics and you obviously don't understand that equation. It just relates the two, it doesn't say they're the same thing. An atomic bomb just converts mass to energy. Particle colliders use energy to make mass. Both are based off that equation. And with quantum theory being proven more and more each day, it won't be too long when we understand everything there is to know here on Earth. And unless the rest of the universe applies some different type of physics that's here (which is highly doubtful) then we'll understand the universe.

      And with science coming along nicely, eventually it will be proven that free will doesn't exist and that we don't actually have souls. If this is the case then that will prove that there is no god because without souls, afterlife can't exist, and without an afterlife, there is no reason for a god.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @fred

      Hello -Fred... Hope that you are doing well.

      You Said: " Peace2all... Goes both ways. In the 50's most places were closed on Sundays the lords day and families had a day to enjoy life with out all the materialism. "

      Well, in my opinion, the way I see it is that the 'believers' want to "restrict" free-will, choice, etc... I mean there is 'nothing' stopping anyone and their families to do whatever they want on Sunday, or any other day for that matter, including... taking a day to shut down the technology, etc... and 'pray' or do whatever you want to do.

      And... it allows others who don't want to or feel the need to pray on Sunday to do whatever they want to.

      See... 'choice' for everyone.

      You Said: " Help, exactly who got in whos bedroom, workplace, school, public square ? "

      Hey -Fred, my posting was going to be extremely long on a 'point by point' basis, so let me summarize quickly here:

      As I said above, it appears that (generalizing here) that the 'religious' want to overall 'restrict' and di-ctate to others what is 'moral' whereas, the rest of us... (agnostics/atheists) want to allow people choice, within the confines of our legal system.

      I think you may want to take into account the 'diversity' of our melting-pot of a culture that we call the U.S. today, as opposed to what it was like in the 50's. With that diversity of people and religion brings a greater diversity of opinions, beliefs, ideas and values that are not all 'in sync' with what the Christian 50's values were.

      So, the times... and our society is a changin' yes...?

      Good speaking with you -Fred...

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • MikeC

      @ Athesist
      E=mc2 is that energy cant be destroyed and that energy is partnered with mass and vice versa. So doesnt that mean you cant have one without the other?
      Now the simple fact is science once thought the earth was flat. I would make a bet that we will never know everything there is to know about earth simply because science at its core needs questions. Every question answered leads to another question. Just like scientists in the search for life look for oxygen because we breath it. Seems pretty narrow if you ask me. But then again science usually goes in the order of the questions answered before it. The more we know the more we discover and the more complicated things get.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "E=mc2 is that energy cant be destroyed and that energy is partnered with mass and vice versa. So doesnt that mean you cant have one without the other?"
      --
      The principle of the conservation of mass (and of energy) states that neither can be created or destroy. E=mc2 just describes the energy of mass at rest – it's a rather limited case. But basically the equation says they're one in the same – not that you can't have one without the other, just as particles are also waves.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "Well theaaaarrrr you have it, prayer was removed which started the downfall of the USA. *rolling eyes*"

      Actually, given that the 50s saw a number of people trying to inject god into the government – putting 'in god we trust' on our money, adding 'under god' into the pledge, perhaps it was attempting to Christian-ize our country that started our (perceived) downfall.

      Though, I have to image that people who grew up in the 20s thought we were going to hell in a handbasket in the 50s – what with our rock and roll and civil rights and all.

      August 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • fred

      Peace2All,
      You said :the 'religious' want to overall 'restrict' and dictate to others what is 'moral' whereas, the rest of us... (agnostics/atheists) want to allow people choice, within the confines of our legal system.
      No difference Peace2All note you just replaced God (or the morals carried over centuries) with a legal system. In less than 10 years our legal system became nothing but a political limp noodle. So you advocate we follow a political limp noodle vs. a moral construct that has developed over 10,000 years. You are asking for a nightmare that will bring down all freedom now enjoyed in America. Think back to the days when the church and the rulers united, look at Iran etc. . Secular America without Church / God (real or illusionary matters not) will be no different. We man require balance and there can be no balance without opposing forces (almost sounds scientific). It is a delusion or lie that secular America would become a big loving family of all diverse peoples. The pattern for the past 60 years clearly shows a splintering that went in line with the dismantling of faith. Success was achieved in the destruction of truth now anybodies truth is as good as anybody else’s. Science of course is exhaulted because all humans have a need to look up and when you knock God down only Science is left or all the little gods that will creep in to fill the void. History has shown all these little gods fail man. Yet God (cause / force behind the effects) always brings through a remnant and that remnant always looks up to God. That is fact. That fact has outlived our relics and skull fragments. If you do not believe then at least agree that man has some form of God illusions over the years.
      To the scientist they should observe that when you remove a force (regardless what you call it or theorize it to be today) cause and effect dictates a response. We are speaking of a big universal force here that has been around for ages and few even today would say no such force exists. Whatever it is you think for moment man could remove it.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • fred

      Stevie7
      You have the right idea ! In the 20's if a woman showed her ankle she was a S, in the 50's if she showed her knee she was a S, in the 70's a mini skirt was ok, in the 90's a micro skirt was ok, today loungerie in public is ok.
      20's marriage was a respected tradition, 50's divorce not so bad, 70's rampant divorce, today no longer matters for most
      20's America expanding, 50's great power, 70's envey of the world / superpower, today evil fat in a tailspin

      So how is your sense of direction

      August 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @fred,

      People have been making these claims since the dawn of time. Every older generation thinks the younger generations are in a tail spin. But their not – it's just the natural course of thing.

      Do you think things were just happy and peachy at the beginning of the 20th century? Why not try asking someone who was either not white or not male (or even, say, Irish). Good for you that you have such a rosy picture of how things were a century ago, but considering the advances in civil rights and medicine, as well as the lack of global wars, I think I'll stick with where I am.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • fred

      Atheist,
      You said "with science coming along nicely, eventually it will be proven that free will doesn't exist and that we don't actually have souls."
      Thank you for proving my point i.e. science will place itself upon the throne of God since that is all you have left. Have you forgotten what happened last time man did that......yep the tower of Babble...man so great in his mind united in building a tower for itself and its great accomplishments. That tower is gone and all that remains is some rubble in IraQ
      If you step outside the atheist box for moment you will see there has always been a provable (tangible or physical) and non provable (God or metaphysical of some nature). For reasons you cannot explain the two must exist as they complement each other, repel each other, confirm cause and effect. It is in the smallest of the known and unknown yet inside and outside the known universe. It will humble the most brilliant of man today as it humbled the most brilliant of all history.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • fred

      Stevie7,
      Correct nothing new in the trend where a group or country grows that follows God and continues to excell in strength until it becomes filled with its wealth pats itself on the back and begins to enyoy its riches. The riches and self pleasure overwhelm the senses leaving little room for God who is ushered out. The society colapses and what remains brought to their knees.
      In short history repeats itself and we like generations before say not us.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      Hey -Fred...

      What the 'heck'...? You took a sentence out of one of my postings and made a 'straw-man' argument and attempted to bowl it over.

      You basically, misrepresented my *meaning*

      This is just way too much to try and disentangle all of what you said in comparison to what I said here to several people.

      Remind me, at some point... on another article or thread to discuss again. I will also do my best to remember to get back with you at some point on this.

      I have enjoyed the discussion.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • fred

      Peace2All

      oh, just testing you ability to keep the peace. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I re read it and thought wow did I write that ! I must be getting more education because I am getting more religious every day

      August 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  5. Judge Dredd

    You shall believe in the law!

    I am the law!

    August 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  6. Rev. Daniel

    Without Christians, everyone would be stupid. Christians are enlightening and have shown everyone else the way. I don't understand why bigots feel the need to take their anger and insecurities out on us believers. We can help save you if you let us. Help me help you. Amen.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • MikeC

      Rev no disrespect but christians arent enlightened. God is enlightened.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • veggiedude

      I've never met a Christian more enlightened than a Buddhist.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rev. Daniel

      In all respect to Buddhists, any Buddhist might as well be the devil.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Rainman

      You don't have to believe in the all-knowing, all-loving, all-forgiving, genocidal man in the sky to have morals. Religion is the cause for most of the suffering in the world. Christians have played their part in that too.

      Religion is for the weak minded.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Atheist

      wow... that comment wasn't respectful to Buddhists at all....

      August 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Atheist

      That's like me saying: "with all respect to Christians, they suck and most are really stupid."

      August 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Atheist

      That's like me saying: "with all respect to Christians, they suck and most are really stupid."
      ---------
      As long as you say with all respect or with all due respect what follows is not an insult. Come on everybody knows this!

      August 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  7. Kyle

    A lot of people seem to be focusing on the educated being pushed to religion through social norms.

    Can it be true that we have the cause-effect backwards? Maybe it's the religious being pushed toward education. It's a completely different discussion then, but doesn't it bring everything to a new perspective?

    What makes the premise of this article correct? Why can't it be the other way around? I'm interested in hearing why these researchers seem to ignore that possibility.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Howard

      That's an excellent point! I believe it is the other way around.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • GoldenGate

      Kyle – one thing about your theory is that it helps explain the data about the mainline protestant denominations. In my experience, fundamentals denominations, such as Southern Baptist, etc., are anti-education. They firmly believe that if children are well educated, they will leave the church. By your theory then, the more religious mainstream protestants get more education, but the religious fundamentalists don't. Its plausible.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  8. RayJacksonMS

    Was the study funded by the American Family Association or some other christian hate group?

    August 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  9. Atheis5150

    http://www.sciencedaily.com

    August 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • J.W

      I am looking for it. I searched for it and have not found a story that says that.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  10. Jennifer Bond

    Yes Mike

    August 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  11. lacubanita

    I am not surprised by this study but I know many of the non-believers are. Intelligence and education have nothing to do with faith. The comment here about people that go to church do it for other than non-religious reasons, my question is, how do you know? do you read minds and hearts? this is an issue between God and the person, no one else.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  12. mattmchugh

    The study asserts that more educated people become less likely to think "my religion is the one true religion" - yet does not interpret that as becoming less religious. It is. Admitting the possibility that your particular faith system may be limited is becoming less dogmatic, less absolutist, more egalitarian, and ultimately less religious.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Iceman

    @William Demuth
    Dude, God is not trying to 'do you in.'

    August 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I hope not, or I will biatch slap his Palestinian rear end back ito the Bronze Age.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Haime52

    Buckner quotes Richard Dawkins and yet does not note that even he admitted to Ben Stein, in the video "No intelligence Allowed", that he could not rule out the existence of God.
    Education in sciences does not, of necessity, cause one to lose their faith. There are many scientists who are believers in God and some have advanced theories and evidence to support their creationist views, but alas, are not allowed pier review because of extreme perjudice in the academic community. The very place where, not that long ago, all ideas were expected to flow freely, is now restricting that flow and open debate by censure and ridicule. It was asked that all be open to the idea of evolution and debate on many moral fronts but when the tide turned in their favor, they wish to stifle contarian voices. It is a very sad commentary on state of academics in the world, today, that there is little to no open debate or even, often times, civility, concerning some questions.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Guest

      Ok the majority of that is simply not true. I don't know or care about what Richard Dawkins ever really says, but there is no proof for creationism, besides religious texts. Seeing as how the only backing for religious texts are the texts themselves, there can be no proof. If you want to argue that a god created the spec that exploded into the Universe, then that is open to interpretation, since no one can really prove how the big bang happened yet. However evolution is so widely accepted because of the overwhelming proof that continues to mount in its favor. The laws of the Universe such as gravity and what causes it are becoming much clearer now. In terms of the creation of the universe I side with science simply because it will always look for a better answer than "God did it". Even if god made it I would still rather live in a world with a better understanding of how everything operates.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Haime52

      Hey -Haime...

      You Said: " Buckner quotes Richard Dawkins and yet does not note that even he admitted to Ben Stein, in the video "No intelligence Allowed", that he could not rule out the existence of God. "

      And from what I have gathered, in general, Professor Hawking's take on 'should there be a God' wouldn't at all fit the 'Christian narrative' of Heaven for the good believing christians, and hell for the non-believers, or... the 'believe or burn forever mentality.'

      You Said: " There are many scientists who are believers in God and some have advanced theories and (evidence) to support their (creationist views), but alas, are not allowed pier {sic} review because of extreme perjudice in the academic community. "

      I could be wrong here, but I believe that the National Academy of Sciences- 97 % atheist, atheist/agnostic...?

      And, your unfounded statement that they are not "allowed pier [sic] review because of prejudice" is ridiculous. Scientists go off of what they can prove. They are not out to 'disprove' that a deity exists. Throwing an 'intangible' deity into the equation, especially of the Christian kind, is going to be shot down, and rightly so. It's not that they deny them 'peer review'... the unfounded hypothesis' do get reviewed, and discounted as they just don't offer any kind of verifiable proof or evidence.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • WOBH

      You have to consider Dawkin's comment in the context in which it was made... the scientific context. Dawkins knows that it is impossible to prove a negative (ie that God doesn't exist) So he properly says he can't discount, in absolute terms, the existence of God. In the same way, he can't discount the existence of the flying spaghetti monster. That's just an element of the scientific approach.

      On the other hand, faith does not allow one to acknowledge the possibility of the non-existence of God... faith is absolute and closed to other possibilities.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Haime52

      *Apologies... should be "Dawkins" not "Professor Hawking"

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Q

      @Peace – "It's not that they deny them 'peer review'... the unfounded hypothesis' do get reviewed, and discounted as they just don't offer any kind of verifiable proof or evidence."

      Very well said. Literal creationism is actually contradicted by available physical evidence (e.g. fossil record, phylogenetics, etc) and ID is nothing more than an argument of incredulity based upon an argument of ignorance. Neither has any supporting physical evidence and both rely on supernatural mechanisms completely inaccessible to methodological naturalism.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @ Q

      Thank you !

      Peace brother...

      August 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  15. Jennifer Bond

    I've run the whole spectrum in regards to faith and religion. As a child I was exposed to the Southern Baptist faith along with my entire biological family, then we all exited the church for various reasons. What happened was 40 years of aimless wandering, substance abuse issues, and all the other maladies that can cause dismay and hopelessness in individuals. Only recently have I considered trying church life again, only being an American Baptist this time. I am by far a poster child as a religious fanatic, but I have learned the true meaning of an established rule known as homeopathy. It simply says to be truly healthy, we must be healthy of mind, body, and spirit. Once that you believe your not the universe, that there is something out there that, put simply loves you, then you come away with the feeling that everything is ok. To me, whether it's a delusion or not, feels pretty darn good.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Mike

      Your in AA aren't you?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      You found your panacea that makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning. Good for you. Next step is to work on getting rid of the new crutch you found to replace the old one.

      You think you feel good now? Just wait. 🙂

      August 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I bet people like you more when you were a booze hound.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • SHRIKE

      Why would anyone think the universe loves you? If the universe were conscious you would be as noticed by it as a dead skin cell that collected in the corner of it's figurative living room. I doubt it would give a crap about your existence.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Universal Indifference

      I think astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said it best: "Every account of a higher power that I've seen described, of all religions that I've seen include many statements with regard to the benevolence of that power. When I look at the universe and all the ways the universe wants to kill us, I find it hard to reconcile that with statements of beneficence."

      August 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  16. Atheis5150

    "But if it’s saying the Bible is the literal word of God and saying that only one religion is the true religion, then they are less religious,” he continued.

    The point of thus story is a headlne, it serves no other purpose. For any one to assert that beleiving in a god means that you are some how more intelligent than someone that has searched out rational answers to rational questions, well it is absurd.

    98% of the highest IQ scores belong to non- believers.
    Also, less than 0.02% of Americans in our prison system are Atheist. The majority being god fearing cristains.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Entil'za

      Nah...98% of atheists are flat out liars. I got that info from the same place you did.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • J.W

      Source?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • sumday

      1 It is quite clear you have never been to a prison, and 2 can you please post your data for the 98% IQ claim bc I strongly believe you are lying on that. I use to somewhat believe in God but it wasn't until I got a degree in engineering that I realized there was defiantly a God. Do you know how much planning, design, and calculation goes into building a building that stands still and has no moving parts? Yet I'm to believe that life in all it's tremendous complications just somehow came to be from a 1 celled organism that had no knowledge, no understand, no way of knowing the future to decide which way to evolve, no way of being able to control how it mutated/evolved, and was able to sustain this for billions of yr all by random chance? Only a silly person would believe such foolishness.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @sumday,

      Perhaps you need to go back and study biology because if we're designed, it certainly wasn't by any intelligent designer. Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that we have an organ that provides little-to-no benefit, is entirely unnecessary, occasionally kills?

      August 12, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  17. erich2112x

    Darwin and his natural selection only scratches the surface of God's plan for all living things. We still have no idea of the origins behind a particular sea species growing lungs and setting a course as a land species, or animals taking flight. The prompting of a species to catapult itself from adaptation to adaptation is only the tip of the ice berg. Obviously there is much credibility in the supernatural. Now the question is who has it right, or is "God" determined to remain anonymous?

    August 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • sbp

      "We still have no idea of the origins behind a particular sea species growing lungs and setting a course as a land species, or animals taking flight"

      Well, yes, we do. You purposefully choose not to have a clue. Doesn't mean science has no clue.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Entil'za

      "Clue" can just as well be translated as guess.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Look into Tiktaalik and Archeoptyrx.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • sbp

      And apples can be translated as oranges. There is a difference between a guess and an educated guess. And between an educated guess and a theory that can be defended with both logic and observable evidence. As opposed to the Bible, for which one needs "faith" because logic and observable evidence falter.

      Interesting that you would hold evolution to overly rigid scientific "standards" (in your mind, anyway), while the Bible gets a free pass on that.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • sumday

      sbp evolution has no observations as it takes millions of ys to take place, also it is not repeatable (which is a requirement for the scientific theory- guess you give evolution a free pass on that huh?), and evolution does not have a mathematical equation to predict it which all other forms of science to. Just pointing out the facts here- while evolution “seems” to have some merit it certainly lacks observation, repeatable testing, accurate predictions- all things that every other field of science requires. Your statements about the bible are also wrong. Most of the bible is more written human history of what people did and all those cities and wars have been shown to be true as best we can tell (IE the kings names, towns, battle fields). The only thing that requires faith is believing God created life and wants us to be “good”. I might add it takes a whole lot more faith to believe that life randomly and meaninglessly evolved for billions of yrs by accident and chance than it does to believe an intelligent being designed and created all this.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @sunday,
      look up the long term e. coli experiment done by Richard Lenski for one example of direct observation of evolution. There are others, but that one is very thorough and doc.umented.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • sbp

      Wrong, and wrong. The evidence of evolution is observable. Like the evidence of a murder. Just because you showed up after the fact doesn't mean the evidence is not there. And, no, evolution does not take millions of years. A genetic mutation occurs, it gets passed on genetically to the very next generation. Are you referring to speciation? And no, not all science is based in math. Though genetics does have a mathematical basis. That's why they can determine that certain populations descended from a particular source of DNA.

      And the ONLY thing in the Bible that requires faith is God? Well, that's kinda the point, isn't it? No one is disputing that at least some historical events are incorporated in the Bible. That doesn't mean the supernatural events weren't embellishments recorded for the purpose of explaining what was at the time unexplainable.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Iceman

    @Peace2All
    Take for example the science pharmaceutical industry- They are not in the business to cure the disease or sickness, they are only in the business to treat the symptoms. Why would they shoot themselves economically by curing a disease, everyone knows there is more money to be made in only treating the symptoms not on eradicating it. In this Science fails. and will continue to fail because of the 'greediness of man.'

    August 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • sbp

      Wow, that was ignorant. Putting aside whether big Pharma has any interest in curing disease (you know, like smallpox and polio); the idea that a corporation EQUALS science is beyond dopey. Science is a concept, not a tangible thing.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Iceman

      Hey -Ice... Been awhile... Hope that you are well. (If... you are the 'same' Iceman I have had conversations with in the past).

      First... dude... I know you know how to hit the 'reply' button to keep the conversations within the appropriate thread. These stand alone postings make it more tedious and difficult to follow.

      Now, for your posting/response here:

      You Said: " @Peace2All... "Take for example the science pharmaceutical industry- They are not in the business to cure the disease or sickness, they are only in the business to treat the symptoms."

      That is totally and completely unfounded. There are drugs that are for 'treating symptoms' and there are drugs to 'cure' or 'attempt to cure' the disease in question.

      There 'is' a difference. The financial gain for finding cures for the myriad of diseases out there that continually pop up are beyond measure. Find the cure for cancers... 'billions' of dollars. Find the cure for aids...'billions' of dollars.

      And, at the same time... I'm not saying that there isn't a certain amount by some to try and milk the system, however to make the blatantly erroneous 'generalizations' that you stated, is inherently myopic.

      Just saying, you may want to re-think your position and be a bit more flexible and see things a bit broader here.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  19. DamianKnight

    Can we not just all admit that intelligent, educated, articulate people exist on both sides of this fence? Do we really have to get into the juvenile comparison? You believe what you want, and I'll believe what I want. Isn't that what this country was founded on?

    August 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Holy Moley!

      We agree?

      Is that sign from Revalation?? Is Jesus going to take the form of a Giant Slurpee and freeze all the people in Hoboken?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • lacubanita

      Very well said! the issue here is that usually nonbelievers like to say that faithful people area backwards and ignorant and stupid. This study proves the contrary.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I am all for keeping the ignorant ignorant!

      Jesus freaks are QUITE usefull to me (At least the females, because their predisposition to subservience makes them ripe for the taking)

      August 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Kiara

      Thank you, and I agree well said. This article did what it was meant to do, start a fight or fights. Hopefully, someday people on both sides will realize critizing each other isn't going to make people change what they believe.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @William,

      Must be a sign of the apocolypse. After all, I agreed with you yesterday on the Warren Jeffs thing and not wanting another Jonestown. 🙂

      August 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Kiara

      Hmmm... You wouldn't be currently living in 'Denmark' would you...?

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  20. Flawed Study

    The options "I don’t believe in God” to "I believe in a higher power" leave a whole universe to maniputate in the middle. A think, seen, and experimented, that generally speaking, with more education you will study, and understand more about your surroundings. Sure is, you will read more, even the freaking flawed Bible, Koran, and other religous, and even philosophical books. More and more education will get you across the "I believe in a higher power" line and stop you very close of the "I don’t believe in God", but no really smart person, no even Richard Dawkins, can deny any specific faith, since that c o n s t i t u t e s faith itself. If the option would be "It is very unlikely there is a God, less interacing with us" then yes, an overwhelming educated people would reach that point.
    Also I agreee with others that say that this study only mention years of study, no education or willing to learn. Everybody can graduate with a C, even Bush!!

    August 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.